Graduating from college is already tough enough (what with all those 8 a.m. classes and multiple choice finals that are meant to trick you into a bad grade), but it’s even tougher when you’re a mom of three and just gave birth two months before you’re set to graduate. Lots of moms might choose to just forego the ceremony altogether, but Amber Bowers, a new graduate of Clary Sage College in Tulsa, Okla. decided to do things a little differently. Instead of skipping the ceremony (which she did consider), Bowers got permission to bring her baby, Luna, to the event. And she breastfed her throughout, earning more than a little support from both her classmates and “the internet.”
Bowers, whose picture was posted by a friend, spoke to Facebook group ‘Breastfeeding Mama Talk’ about her choice to bring her daughter to the graduation. Did she think the picture would get such a response? Absolutely not. That’s because Bowers says she wasn’t doing anything she wouldn’t normally do.
Here’s the picture of the jubilant mom at the ceremony:
Bowers wasn’t allowed to bring Luna up with her when she went to get her diploma, but the massage school grad says that being at the graduation was so important to her that she was willing to do what was necessary to get her diploma with the rest of her classmates.
I had just found out the night before I had approval to have Luna with me. She hasn’t started taking bottles yet, so I was originally going to just skip the ceremony. I wasn’t that sad about it at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to be there. So I reached out to Dr. Raye and she got the okay for Luna to be with me.
To me, this is just what you do as a mother. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything out of the norm, but as I was walking around backstage before the ceremony I started to get compliments as well as eye rolls from people who saw me nursing Luna.
Bowers’s breastfeeding ended up getting way more attention than the new grad bargained for:
Right before I was heading to the main floor, a few women were gushing over the sight of me nursing her and snapped a photo of me. I didn’t really think anything of it, and just enjoyed Luna snuggles as I watched the ceremony begin. I was just reflecting on my time in class and just how thankful I was to have the support system I do, to be able to be there that night. When it was my time to cross the stage I was so overcome with emotion and gratitude for my journey!
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Bowers shared that she felt grateful for all of the positive attention. Her hope is that pictures like hers will eliminate the stigma of moms breastfeeding their children in public. Because, as we all know, there’s just nothing wrong or weird about feeding your 2-month-old child when they’re hungry.
“That’s what it’s all about! Uplifting and supporting one another,” Bowers told HuffPo. “It’s a shame that so many women are made to feel uncomfortable doing what is natural.”